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Last Updated: Jan 11, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Transportation Engineering History Print Page


  • Michigan Highways
    This website includes current and historical information on Michigan's state trunklines.
  • Highway History
    The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) developed this part of their website to document the history of roadways in America, the development of the interstate system, and the history of the department itself. It includes hundreds of digitized photos dating from 1896-1967 that show the the development of roads and transportation across the country.
  • The Automobile Shapes the City
    Created by the University of Michigan Dearborn and the Henry Ford, this website includes information on how parking, traffic control and highways evolved and how they influenced the development of both the suburbs and cities.
  • Railroad History
    This website includes very detailed articles on the evolution of the railroad system, including the history of railroad infrastructure and maintenance.
  • Technical Report Archive and Image Library (TRAIL)
    Digitized copies of U.S. government technical reports published prior to 1976.
  • Mass Transit
    This Encyclopaedia Britannica entry includes in-depth information on "the evolution of urban mass transportation"

Finding Articles on Transportation History

Search these databases for articles on transportation history:

    This database includes full text articles from academic journals in many disciplines, most going back to their first issue.
  • Science Direct
    Search this database to find full-text articles in science, engineering, technology and medicine

Books and eBooks

Cover Art
Divided Highways - Tom Lewis
ISBN: 9780801478222
Publication Date: 2013
In this ebook, Tom Lewis charts and analyzes the development of the U.S. Interstate system, including the demographic and economic pressures that influenced its planning and construction and the disputes that pitted individuals and local communities against engineers and federal administrators. Lewis follows the story to the present, concluding with Boston's troubled and yet triumphant Big Dig project, the growing antipathy for big federal infrastructure projects, and the uncertain economics of highway projects both present and future.

Cover Art
Highways, Byways, and Road Systems in the Pre-Modern World - Susan E. Alcock; John Bodel; Richard J. A. Talbert (eds.).
ISBN: 9780470674253
Publication Date: 2012
This ebook reveals the significance and interconnectedness of early civilizations' pathways. This international collection of readings providing a description and comparative analysis of several sophisticated systems of transport and communication across pre-modern cultures. It explores the societal, cultural, and religious implications of various ancient transportation networks.

Cover Art
Creek Paths and Federal Roads - Angela Pulley Hudson
ISBN: 9780807833933
Publication Date: 2010
In this ebook, Hudson examines travel within and between southeastern Indian nations and the southern states, from the founding of the U.S., when settlers and slaves traveled Indian trading paths and federal post roads, until the forced removal of southeastern Indians in the 1830s. Hudson focuses particularly on the creation and mapping of boundaries between Creek Indian lands and the new states; the development of roads, canals, and other internal improvements within these territories; and the ways that Indians, settlers, and slaves understood, contested, and collaborated on these boundaries and transit networks.

Cover Art
America's National Park Roads and Parkways - Timothy Davis; Todd A. Croteau; Christopher H. Marston (eds.).
Call Number: Oversize collection E 160 .A578 2004
ISBN: 0801878780
Publication Date: 2004
The roads within America's national park system epitomize the challenge of how to balance environmental protection with public access. This book brings together 331 measured and interpretive drawings that illustrate the physical characteristics, design strategies, construction practices, and visitor experiences of roads and parkways in national parks from Acadia to Zion. This book has practical applications for engineers, landscape architects, and cultural resource specialists in guiding design decisions, interpreting historic sites, and informing contemporary debates on preservation and environmental protection.

Cover Art
Divided Highways - Tom Lewis
Call Number: HE 355 .L484 1997
ISBN: 067086627X
Publication Date: 1997
"In Divided Highways, Tom Lewis tells the monumental story of the largest engineered structure ever built: the Interstate Highway System." The highway system was propelled forward through the path-breaking efforts of brilliant engineers, argued over by politicians of every ideological and moral stripe, reviled by the citizens whose lives it devastated, and lauded as the greatest public works project in U.S. history.

Cover Art
The State of Michigan Trunk Line Story - Stanley D. Lingeman
Call Number: UDM Michigan Core Collection HE 356 .M5 L54 1997a
Publication Date: 1997
This pamphlet gives historical information on state trunk lines including their evolution from indian trails, how they were funded, legislation that significantly affected them, and how frequently they are traveled. Also available online.

Cover Art
Landscapes of Movement - James E. Snead; Clark L. Erickson; J. Andrew Darling (eds.).
ISBN: 193453613X
Publication Date: 2009
This ebook documents trails, paths, and roads across different times and cultures, from those made by hunter-gatherers in North America to causeways in the Bolivian Amazon to Bronze Age towns in the Near East, examined through aerial and satellite photography, surface survey, historic records, and archaeological excavation. The essays show how labor, technology, terrain, landscape features, access, and ownership factored in the development of paths, trails, and roads that served as an important organizing element of civilization.

Cover Art
Driving Europe - Frank Schipper
ISBN: 9052603081
Publication Date: 2009
In the early 1900s, travel by car between European countries was made difficult as drivers often paid high "import duties" on their cars as they crossed borders and had to pass different driving test in each country. This ebook describes the economic and political negotiations and agreements that helped integrate European infrastructure and made it much easier to travel across borders.

Cover Art
Ways of the World - M. G. Lay; James Vance (Foreword by)
ISBN: 0813517583
Publication Date: 1992
A history of the world's roads and vehicles from prehistoric pathways, through the rise of animal-powered wheeled vehicles, to the development of surfaced roads and the rise of automobiles.

Cover Art
Historic American Roads - Rose, Albert C.
Call Number: HE 355 .R67 1976
Publication Date: 1988

Cover Art
Wet Britches and Muddy Boots: A History of Travel in Victorian America - White, John H.
ISBN: 0253356962
Publication Date: 2011
What was travel like in the 1880s? Was it easy to get from place to place? Were the rides comfortable? How long did journeys take? This ebook describes all forms of public transport from canal boats to oceangoing vessels, passenger trains to the overland stage. John H. White Jr. discusses not only the means of travel but also the people who made the system run-riverboat pilots, locomotive engineers, stewards, stagecoach drivers, seamen.

Cover Art
Car Country - Wells, Christopher W.
ISBN: 9780295992150
Publication Date: 2013
In this ebook, Wells takes readers on a lively tour of the evolution of American landscape, from the dawn of the motor age to the establishment of the Interstate Highway System and the rise of the suburbs. Wells charts the ways that new transportation policies and land-use practices have combined to reshape nearly every element of the built environment around the easy movement of automobiles.


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